papa roach

PAPA ROACH // A Swarm of Cracked Smiles

PAPA ROACH with The Ugly Kings
170 Russell, Melbourne
21st January, 2018

Promoting their latest album Crooked Teeth, Papa Roach brought their unique blend of rock, rap and metal to Melbourne last Sunday for the first show of their headline Australian tour.

As a staple of my own music collection back in the early 2000s, it was exciting to hear what Papa Roach had to offer, but also enjoy the long awaited nostalgia trip that would bring me back to those angsty-teen years. It’s safe to say Papa Roach delivered on both!

Ugly Kings // Photo: Bree Wallace

Ugly Kings // Photo: Bree Wallace

To kick the show off we had The Ugly Kings. They were about as enjoyable as a chicken sandwich from 7/11. Not one’s first choice, but passable if nothing else is on offer. No problem with the short line-up though, Papa Roach did follow up with a lengthy 17 song set and none of us wanted to be out too late on a Sunday night I imagine so the shorter line-up seemed considerate on this occasion.

The Ugly Kings did seem out of place on this line-up though. Playing a familiar, yet tiresome style of 70s rock revival; sitting somewhere between Jet, Kings of Leon, and Wolfmother the band delivered their style with pride despite an odd choice. Papa Roach have been around for a long time; and although closer to the rock than metal today. It can appear tame compared to the dominance of screaming vocal bands in current heavy music. The energy of the support just didn’t feel right next to what Papa Roach bring to the table. . With a tasteful sprinkling of rock-star attitude and finally winning the audience over in the end with a nice easy sing-along.

With a Paper Bag Crown? // Photo: Bree Wallace

After the support up went a sheer curtain adorned with artwork from their latest album while the stage was set for Papa Roach’s inevitable, explosive entrance. After a somewhat obvious intro of Pharoahe Monch’s Simon Says (oddly though, the entire song start to finish) and an encouraging voice-over to thrust your middle fingers high and yell ‘Fuck Papa Roach!’ the curtain dropped and the band exploded in with title track from the new album with booming guitars, drums, bass and vocals hitting us all at once. The band wasted no time letting us know what this night was really all about!

The band exploded in with title track from the new album with booming guitars, drums, bass and vocals hitting us all at once. The band wasted no time letting us know what this night was really all about!

Even though overall Papa Roach’s set tonight had a lot of new material, the band sprinkled us with nostalgia from Getting Away with Murder and Between Angels and Insects early on before switching to something newer with Face Everything and Rise.

Papa Roach // Photo: Bree Wallace

The first few songs brought us the aggressive energy Papa Roach is known for, with vocalist Jacoby Shaddix encouraging some old school walls of death and pits. The band quickly decided it was time to tone it down a few notches. First up with probably one of their most unique tracks off the new album Born For Greatness, sporting a Kanye-esque hip-hop edge, lots of electronic samples and letting the guitars take a back seat. This track really allowed touring member Anthony Esperance to shine, taking on multi-instrumental roles between keys, rhythm guitar, backing vocals and percussion while Shaddix’s aggressive raps and clean vocals soared over the top of it all.

Following up here with back to back ballads from the well-known Scars to newer tracks Periscope and Gravity the new songs sat right beside the old. Shaddix let the audience take over in the final chorus of Scars, thanking us for the help.

A surprising twist to bring the energy back up came in the form of a cover of Blur’s well known 90’s hit Song 2 which brought the whole venue back on-board to join in on the well know ‘Whoo Hoo!’ hook. Papa Roach had some more surprises in store for us also with a touching Linkin Park tribute as the final bars of Forever faded into an In The End cover. Shaddix reminded us of how great a loss Chester Bennington was, encouraging the audience to have their friends back, stay strong, and persevere through the dark times.

Hey, a blue car! // Photo: Bree Wallace

Closing the main set with both American Dreams and Help the band left the stage though none of us were ready for the night to end! Returning for a compulsory encore Papa Roach treated us to not just one, but four more songs and that much needed nostalgia trip we’d all been waiting for including a back to back Dead Cell/Last Resort (with a hint of what I think was Refused’s New Noise thrown in for the transition) and a final reprise of ‘…To Be Loved’ closing the night. More moshpits, crowd surfing and plenty of rock-star attitude from Shaddix adorned the final few songs with the light show switching up to a faster pace and the entire venue descending into absolute chaos for the final few songs. Shaddix getting right up and intimate with the crowd in these final moments also.

If only this was ice cream // Photo: Bree Wallace

As the house lights came on the band all came to the front of the stage for one final bow and snapped a few pictures before leaving behind what was a memorable night for all of us there. With so many bands from the early 2000s now doing 10-15 year reunion tours, it was a nice to see a band like Papa Roach that has been consistent, put out new material and continued to grow and stay relevant while also giving something back to the fans that have stuck with them right from the beginning.


24th January – Metro Theatre, Sydney
25th January – Metro Theatre, Sydney

Tickets available here.

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